"We never intended to become breeders, rather we started with a single Bengal that we fell in love with"
The story of Mandy's Bengals Cattery started when Kris adopted his first Bengal. He was looking for a pet that he could call his companion but didn't want the responsibilities that a pet dog required since he had a busy lifestyle.
He always had pets growing up from dogs, rabbits, birds, and even a salamander- but never a cat.
In the past, he believed that cats wouldn't make for a good pet because they were too independent or if they were affectionate, he would end up being covered in cat hair after any tender exchanges.
He had two other (younger) motives as well. He wanted his two young children to know what he did growing up, that a family can grow closer with the addition of a pet.
Around the same time, Kris' sister adopted a brown Bengal. When he first saw her kitten, he was in awe. The wild looking mini-leopard more than caught his eye, and he ended up spending more time with the kitten that day than the rest of his family.
He found out that Bengals were not your typical house cat - they were something extraordinary. They originated from the mixing of the wild Asian Leopard with a domestic cat. This hybrid is exotic, energetic, playful, athletic and very intelligent.
He also discovered that Bengals shed much less than other cats, if anything at all, so he wouldn't have to worry about having to "de-shed" himself every time he left the house.
A Bengal cat sounded like the perfect pet. A cat that would be just as friendly and energetic as perhaps a dog, but without all of the extra responsibilities and maintenance that is required with owning a dog.
He called the cattery that his sister had adopted her Bengal from, the award-winning Akeera Bengal, and met the kitten he would first adopt: "Kiki Sarabi."
Kiki was the last of the litter to be adopted, and at 16 weeks old her brothers and sisters had already departed to their forever homes.
When Kris and his children went to visit her at Akeera Bengal, they saw a beautiful brown Bengal with a rosette spotted coat and gorgeous hazel green eyes. She was very shy and therefore was overlooked by all of the potential parents that had come to visit.
Kris was especially skeptical because he wasn't interested in an anti-social "scaredy-cat", but Lidia from Akeera Bengals reassured him that if he were willing to put the time (and love-in), she would become his loyal companion.
It was then that Kris noticed a particular spot on the left side of her coat. It was shaped like a heart. This was when Kris made his decision and knew that Kiki was to come home with them that day.
Kiki hid in the closet for the first few weeks, but with a little patient coaxing, she was soon past her fears and became a new member of the family.
Then along came Mandy. Mandy, Kris's partner, wanted a Bengal of her own and thought it would be a great idea to extend the family again.
That is when they bought their second Bengal, Leon Leo.
Leo had a very outgoing and fun-loving personality, so he bonded with the family instantly. Leo also became a close companion for Kiki and within the first 24 hours; they became inseparable.
Perhaps, Mandy, had this planned all along, but the discussion to have Kiki and Leo become parents was on the table and soon after they asked Lidia from Akeera Bengals to mentor them.
Lidia taught them the ropes of owning and operating a reputable cattery with the highest of standards, being focused on bettering the breed not just for the money.
There is something magical about watching creation take place, especially with something as beautiful as a Bengal.
Kris and Mandy witnessed this first hand when they had their first litter of beautiful baby snow Bengals.
Since then they have been co-creating healthy, loving, good-tempered Bengals so that other families can experience the wonderful feeling that a Bengal can bring into their homes.